Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave | Airbus A319 | Aircraft Spruce

Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave | Airbus A319 | Aircraft Spruce

Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave | Airbus A319 | Aircraft SpruceIntroduction. Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave

Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave is essential to passenger’s confidence and in eliminating the going concern of organizations engaging in air travel.The occurrence of aircraft accidents due to  engine failures may attribute to operational failures or in other elements such as weather or communication faults. In the year 2010, Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave with two passengers on board crashed in New South Wales, Austria. The report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found errors in one of the aircraft engines leading to a collision with terrain 6km northwest of Bankstown airport in Australia. To improve the safety and operational of aircraft, it is essential to conduct a failure analysis to the events leading to the accident. The use of report findings from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) informs of a comprehensive analysis while relying on technical information on aircraft safety from peer-reviewed literature.

Literature review.

Findings by Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

On the morning of 15 June 2010, the aircraft Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave carrying two passengers’ experience engine difficulties while on the flight (Bureau, 2012). The pilot attempting to control the engine failure of the right engine made a decision to return to the airport while cruising at an altitude of more than 7000 feet. Due to lack of functioning of the right engine, Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave began a steep decent exceeding the capacity of the left engine to handle operational control of the aircraft. Australian Transport Safety Bureau details that because of lack of maximum operational of the left engine led to the failure of the pilot to maintain a level flight of the Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave (Bureau, 2012). According to Lee, (2006), during the collapse of engine operational capabilities, initiating protocols for saving lives is the ultimate goal for crew or passengers. In line with this rationale, the pilot initiated contact with the control to inform them of the engine failure flight manifests during the decent details of attempts the pilot. This includes communicating to control of the uneven distribution of fuel in the cylinders. A spectral analysis of radio transmissions shows surging of engine activity that is consistent to shifting to one engine used in a twin-engine aircraft.

Status of the pilot.

During failure analysis of aircraft accidents, checking the integrity of the pilot is essential while ruling out cases of negligence and professional malpractices (Lee, 2006). As such, pilot details show that the pilot flew 16hrs of flight within the last seven days to the flight. This is consistent with the finding of the pilot clocking 0.5 hrs with the Piper PA-31P within the previous 7 days (Bureau, 2012). Assessing the number of flights taken by the pilot of the specific aircraft translates to demonstrating a level of understanding of the aircraft by the pilot. Having a total of 70.2 hrs within the previous 30day while o flight, this shows that the pilot met all the prerequisites before attaining control of the aircraft. With a medical certificate without any restrictions and having the approval of Airtex Aviation group, the pilot’s experience thus is not in question. Undergoing training to operate and fly a multi-engine aircraft is an essential endorsement to the pilots’ efficiency and capabilities (Lee, 2006). Failure analysis at this point may rely on the integrity of the engine leading to the events of the accident on 15 June 2010.

The integrity of Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave.

Maurino, Reason, Johnston, & Lee, (2017), assert that aircraft safety includes assessment of aircraft worthiness and the quality of maintenance. This, however, relies on the effectiveness of engineers that particular airlines have while relying on the lifespan of aircraft. Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave logbook statement manifests timely maintenance and safety checks (Bureau, 2012). The airframe worthiness report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirms good integrity status while engine worthiness indicates top quality and maintenance. Lack of evidence showing negligence in maintenance affirms by the lack of documentation showing preexisting defects before the accident. According to Maurino, Reason, Johnston, & Lee, (2017), long-term operation of aircraft in harsh surrounding or instances of maximum pressure affects the interior of airplanes. In the particular use and assessment of Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave, having to ferry small groups of passengers and operating in moderate level environments free of pressures, it is highly unlikely that the accident was because of long-term use (Ayres, Shirazi, Carvalho, Hall, Speir, Arambula, & Pitfield, 2013). The last date of maintenance for Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave is 11 June 2010. Issuance of a maintenance release permit on 28 May 2010 indicates the meeting of all prerequisites before taking any commercial flights (Bureau, 2012). Changing of the aircraft engine for maintenance purposes took place on 19 February 2010 that is 4 months before the accident. Regarding weight and balance of the aircraft, operating on the day of an accident with a tonnage of 3266 kgs shows conformity to industry regulations and safety levels.

Refueling of the aircraft took place according to schedule at 0720 before taking off. Without any irregularities in refueling procedure, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found no cause of any preflight influence on the aircraft (Bureau, 2012).

Meteorological information.

In Australia, the issuance of aerodrome forecast (TAF) by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) shows no deviances from normal thus indicating no influences by aerodynamics on the airplane’s capabilities. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), visibility during ascent was clear to a distance of 10 km with a few clouds past 3500 ft (Bureau, 2012). With a temperature of 4°C, the atmospheric pressure at normal conditions facilitated favorable conditions for ascent and stable flight. Weather observations at the time indicate temperatures ranging from 4 °C to 6 °C with a visibility of 8km from Bankstown Airport (Bureau, 2012). The Airport automatic terminal information service at the Bankstown airport indicates communication between the pilot and the control. Before the right engine failure, communication through the Airport automatic terminal information service sent Bravo confirmations indicating a lack of weather inhibitions on communication capabilities and quality.

Wreckage and scene data.

Left engine

The location of the wreckage at 6.3 km from the Bankstown airport conforms to the flight path traced by Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave. At a bearing of 299 °(M), this indicates a route following a path that is consistent with information detailing the path of the aircraft towards the Bankstown airport. With the right wing hitting a utility pole at 10m above the ground, this shows that the aircraft made contact with the ground with the fuselage on the lower side. Witness statements at the site of the crash indicate the right wing ignited leading to a fire that destroyed essential evidence from the scene. The resulting fire from the impact destroyed the fuselage including the jet engine propellers. Without any fire triggers outside the primary

Aircraft Accident Piper PA 31P 350 Mojave | Airbus A319 | Aircraft Spruce

source of the right wing, investigators at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) (Bureau, 2012). Agree with finality that the right wing fuselage caused the fire. A closer examination of the engines shows a lack of internal mechanical malfunctions, thus ruling out instances of faultiness by the aircraft. Without evidence of piston combustion, chamber melting or pre-ignition of the engines or any equipment in the plane, investigators rule out deficiencies in the aircraft structural integrity (Maurino, Reason, Johnston, & Lee, 2017).

Medical and pathological information.

With injuries sustained by the pilot and the passenger on board showing conformity with the accident, medical investigators confirm full capabilities of the pilot to operate the aircraft. Toxicological examination point towards a lack of foreign substances that may have caused the pilot to experience incapacitation during the flight. The existence of fire at the crash site conforms to the existence of fuel since the aircraft failed to utilize available capacity during the short-lived flight (Lee, 2006). Contact with the power line pole provided circumstances leading investigators to conclude that the accident was not survivable by the two aircraft passengers.

Summary of safety factors.

Evidence points towards operational failure by the right engine when the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 9000 ft. Sustaining a power problem by the right engine precipitated operational shortcomings leading to shutting down. The immediate consequence of the shutdown according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is inoperative flight. However, investigators pint that the pilot attempted to return to the Bankstown airport with a normal flight curve. The normal arrival profile by the pilot failed to establish a reliable checkup on the capability of the left engine to fully operate and control the aircraft to safe landing. Thus, this indicates that the behavior of the aircraft and the pilot manifests a lack of optimal operational capabilities. With the collision with the power line utility pole, the situation changed from survivable to less manageable leading to fatality of the passengers.


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) with the advice of Civil Aviation Safety Authority provides manually relating to multi-engine aircraft to pilots and airlines. Failures encountered during the climb and descent would inform on future rationale and procedure of handling cases of engine failure. Provision of guidance material by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau would advise on the handling of aircraft during emergency operations while improving the management of multi-engine aircraft. During training, provision of quality flight simulations would facilitate quality decision making during the various stages of flight. Safety precautions are essential for passengers’ safety while increasing the competitive advantage of airlines with updated safety manuals.


Ayres, M., Shirazi, H., Carvalho, R., Hall, J., Speir, R., Arambula, E., … & Pitfield, D. (2013). Modelling the location and consequences of aircraft accidents. Safety science, 51(1), 178-186.

Bureau, A. T. S. (2012). Australian Rail Safety Occurrence Data: 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2012 (ATSB Transport Safety Report RR-2012-010). Canberra, Australia: ATSB.

Lee, W. K. (2006). Risk assessment modeling in aviation safety management. Journal of Air Transport Management, 12(5), 267-273.

Maurino, D. E., Reason, J., Johnston, N., & Lee, R. B. (2017). Beyond aviation human factors: Safety in high technology systems. Routledge.

David Marks

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